Daniel da Cruz Carvalho (born 2 November 1976), commonly known as Dani, is a retired Portuguese footballer who played mainly as an attacking midfielder.
He spent most of his eight-year professional career with Ajax after starting out at Sporting, appearing in nearly 100 official games and winning three major titles. He also competed abroad in Spain, with Atlético Madrid.
A skilled offensive player whose career was cut short by poor professional judgment, Dani was born in Lisbon and began his career with local Sporting Clube de Portugal, making his first-team debuts during 1994–95, aged just 17, in a team which also included Luís Figo, Ricardo Sá Pinto and Bulgarian Krassimir Balakov, and helped the capital side to the season's Portuguese Cup.
In January 1996, Dani served a small stint in the Premier League with West Ham United, scoring at Tottenham Hotspur and at home against Manchester City. Despite playing a decent role in his nine-game career, his season ended when he was sacked by manager Harry Redknapp, when he missed training after being spotted in a nightclub. Subsequently he represented AFC Ajax, appearing regularly for the Amsterdam club but almost never as an undisputed starter, although he netted an important goal in the 1996–97 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal clash against Atlético Madrid, in a 3–2 away win (4–3 aggregate).
In December 2000, after a brief spell with S.L. Benfica, Dani signed for Atlético Madrid in the Spanish second division, teaming up with compatriot Hugo Leal. After the Colchoneros returned to La Liga, he was pretty much absent for the majority of the 2002–03 campaign and, after failing to find a new team, definitively retired from football in early 2004 at only 27.
Dani earned nine caps for Portugal, the first coming on 12 December 1995 in a 1–1 friendly with England, and the last on 29 March 2000 in a 2–1 success against Denmark (also friendly).
Previously, he appeared for the nation at the 1995 FIFA World Youth Championship in Qatar, being awarded the second place in both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards, and also competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics where the team reached a final fourth place.
Still during his playing career, Dani worked regularly as a model. After retiring, he worked on television.SportingTaça de Portugal: 1994–95AjaxEredivisie: 1997–98KNVB Cup: 1997–98, 1998–99Atlético MadridSegunda División: 2001–02Portugal U-20FIFA U-20 World Cup: Third place 1995